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Causes of Dental Phobia (and What You Can Do If You Have It)

April 26, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — beverlyhills @ 8:03 am
Woman with dental phobia covering her mouth at the dentist

According to recent research on the subject, there are many causes of dental phobia out there today. While it can appear in many different ways, which can make it difficult to manage, there are ways you can make your future dental appointments easier to complete. After recognizing the symptoms, it’s much easier to find solutions for anxiety, nervousness, or fear, including with sedation dentistry from a dentist. Keep reading to learn which sedation could best suit your needs!

The Most Common Causes of Dental Phobia

Also known as dental anxiety, dental phobia is considered to be complex because it’s not always so easy to tell what caused it to develop in the first place. Over the years, researchers have determined that there are many reasons why people tend to feel nervous during or even ahead of their dental appointment, even if it’s only to complete something as simple as an exam and cleaning.

The most common causes include the following:

  • Traumatic experience with a previous dentist or other healthcare provider
  • Previous trauma to the mouth, head, or neck (including general abuse)
  • Generalized anxiety, depression, or PTSD
  • The belief that the mouth is a personal space that should never be accessed anyone else
  • Fear of loss of control or trust issues
  • Other phobias or conditions that make dentistry difficult to complete, including agoraphobia (fear of situations where you are unable to escape), claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Are You Suffering from Dental Phobia?

While most people generally know whether they can make visits to the dentist or not, it’s not always so clear for some. In this instance, it helps to confirm symptoms ahead of time so they can be discussed with a dentist before the appointment. Common symptoms for dental phobia, especially immediately before a dental appointment, include:

  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat or palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fainting
  • Visible distress, such as crying or signs of panic
  • Coping mechanisms to mask anxiety, such as humor or aggression

How Sedation Dentistry Can Help

The good news is there are many ways in which a dentist can provide relief, even to those with severe levels of anxiety. Sedation dentistry is designed to not only help you feel calm throughout your appointment, but in some cases help you forget most memory of the appointment itself. They typically come in different strengths depending on the level of nervousness or anxiety you’re feeling.

  • Nitrous oxide – the most mild form of sedation, nitrous oxide is a gas-based sedative administered through a nasal mask.
  • Oral conscious sedation – taken in pill form and intended for moderate dental phobia
  • IV sedation – taken intravenously (directly into the bloodstream), making it fast-acting and the most powerful form of sedation dentistry available

During a dedicated consultation with the dentist, you can find out which form of sedation can best suit you (or a family member’s) needs. Schedule an appointment with a sedation dentist today to take control for your dental phobia and protect your smile for life!

About the Author

Dr. Kboudi has been a practicing dentist for over two decades, and since then, he’s helped hundreds of patients ease their dental anxiety or phobia using safe and proven sedation techniques. This includes nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. To schedule an appointment with his office, you can contact him through his website.

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